Paul Barsch

Paul Barsch + Tilman Hornig, Episode 4: Bathroom (2015) documentation

1 June 2016

Episode 4: Bathroom, curated by Dorota Gawęda and Eglė Kulbokaitė, brought together artists Paul Barsch and Tilman Hornig at Münchenstein’s OSLO1O in Switzerland, which ran from November 25, 2015, to January 25, 2016. Under the topic of ‘Bathroom’, devised by “post-gender avatar” and curator Agatha Valkyrie Ice, the project was the fourth of 10 in Ai’s curatorial concept following MTV Cribs.

The collaborative installation is loosely associated with Chapter 7: ANUS of their online project Body Holes, produced by digital exhibition platform New Scenario and launching on June 3 as part of the Berlin 9th Berlin Biennale. The project features Michele Gabriele, Jesse Darling, Mikkel Carl, and Sandra Vaka Olsen.

Moving through the different rooms of Ai house, beginning at the entrance, through the corridors and into further rooms, the 10 episodes host a [sci-fi IRL] story constructed over two years.

Paul Barsch + Tilman Hornig, Episode 4: Bathroom (2015). Exhibition view. Courtesy the artists + OSLO1O, Münchenstein.
Paul Barsch + Tilman Hornig, Episode 4: Bathroom (2015). Exhibition view. Courtesy the artists + OSLO1O, Münchenstein.

Four toilets are placed haphazardly around the space. Each titled ‘Toilet Piece’ (2015), the artists describe the medium as “Sanitary Ceramics” and each have been cleanly painted with pigment made to look like graffiti. Hanging above are the three ‘Garlic Piece’ series (2015), made of allium sativum (see: garlic) and bast fiber (also a part of the plant), hung on steel. In the adjacent room, ‘Wall piece’ (2015) takes up the majority of the space and is made using nitro-combination lacquer. The graffiti presents opposite the isolated and minimal ‘Soap/Sink Piece’ (2015).

Accompanying the sculptural assemblage is a written script that expands on the concept through words:

“Hanako-san, Ai realise the first organ to suffer privatization, removal from the social field, was the anus. Ai hole is a positive particle before Ai is the absence of a negatively charged electron, and the movement of electrons toward the positive terminal is also a flow of holes streaming back the other way. Immerse Aiself in a field of anuses, and a collection of small holes and tiny ulcerations: Ai heterogeneous elements compose the multiplicity of symbiosis and becoming. Holes are charged particles running in reverse. Holes are not the absence of particles but particles traveling faster than the speed of light. Ai realise that the anus is that center of production of pleasure. Ai is closely related to the mouth and hand, which are also organs strongly controlled by the sexopolitical campaign against masturbation and homosexuality in the nineteenth century. The anus has no gender.”**

Exhibition photos, top right.

Paul Barsch + Tilman Hornig’s Episode 4: Bathroom was on at Münchenstein’s OSLO10, running November 24 to January 25, 2015-2016.

Header image: Paul Barsch + Tilman Hornig, ‘Toilet Piece’ (2015). Detail. Courtesy the artists + OSLO1O.

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AFFECT 1: WHILE WE WORK @ Agora, May 27

25 May 2016

The AFFECT 1: WHILE WE WORK: A Temporary State of Affairs group exhibition is on at Berlin’s Agora project space on May 27.

Hosted by the artist run collective and curated by Judith Lavagna, the show is conceived as a time-based structure for one night. WHILE WE WORK operates as a storyteller and as a score that oscillates between the liveness and the memory of Agora’s work in relation to their building —a space in constant mutation, where working phases and changes of plans are part of its daily construction, as well as the multiple informations, stories and rumours that have been circulating.

Included in the Agora Rollberg space —the collective’s second, which the coming exhibition will ‘unveil’ and ‘witness’ —is the work of Berlin-based artists Nicolas Puyjalon, Chile-born Michelle Marie Letelier, duo Anne Fellner & Burkhard Beschow, who were a part of Comedy Club that aqnb reviewed earlier this month and Paul Barsch.

Affect is Agora’s central programme running for the majority of 2016, acting as co-host to the events that take place at Rollberg, kicking off with this show, collecting and archiving the work within Agora’s work as a whole.

See the Agora Affect page for more.**

Paul Barsch @ Comedy Club (2016). Installation view. Courtesy Jens Einhorn, Anne Fellner + Burkhard Beschow.
Paul Barsch @ Comedy Club (2016). Installation view. Courtesy Jens Einhorn, Anne Fellner + Burkhard Beschow.
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Looking back at Comedy Club

17 May 2016

Everything about about Comedy Club is kept low key. The location and the general information is minimal; it’s an exhibition in an attic room of a semi-disused warehouse in the Neukölln. It’s organised by Jens Einhorn, Anne Fellner and Burkhard Beschow, features work by 13 artists including Sofia Restorp, Alex Rathbone, Tamina Amadyar, Robert Brambora, and Santiago Taccetti among others and runs in parallel to Berlin Gallery Weekend, April 29 to May 1.

At the top of a stairwell, beside the doorway, a toy butterfly skewered on a curved wire rod circles around the opening of a large crisp packet from a hidden motor inside. Crumbs beside the packet release oil into the concrete dust. It is a work by Paul Barsch. I am lightheaded and seeing stars because the exhibition is at the top of a long spiral staircase that scales the corner of the mostly abandoned building. The sculpture has a smoother mechanism but remains positively lo-fi in its technics, like a hand drawn animation superimposed over 35mm film. In its cyclical dance, a comic gesture, perfected in this automaton, indicates the threshold of the show; the bouncer.

Paul Barsch @ Comedy Club (2016). Installation view. Courtesy Jens Einhorn, Anne Fellner + Burkhard Beschow.
Paul Barsch @ Comedy Club (2016). Installation view. Courtesy Jens Einhorn, Anne Fellner + Burkhard Beschow.

Past the doorway, a skinny tubular structure, one of several of Erik Larsson’s ‘Beach Bums’ works emerges from a mound of sand. Jammed into each other with shims of banknotes; currencies I can’t make out amongst other domestic debris. These notes serve a function to wedge and physically support. Behind this work, a punk and his dog sits in a little scene with their backs against a large modernist object by Lin May Saeed. A haggard host welcoming us to the venue, its crude white plaster legs bleed rust from their internal armature. Alongside it are the words “WR 6603 ART BRUT” written in paint on the ground. The paint is older, inflicting my reading of the sculpture in such proximity; the punk in a moment of disdain contemplating ‘Art Brut’ in huge letters at its feet.

These words and numbers, along with other wall drawings and graffiti in the attic were made in the early 2000s. I piece together a narrative through my conversation with the organisers of an artist who went by the name of Dada Reiner. Two manifesto-like texts by Reiner were found in a stairwell dated from 2001, they included his views on the art-industrial-complex and his methods of practice. The texts have been brought into the space of the show and left on a beam to be read. It is confusing perhaps for the art viewer in search of an exhibition text, but this derailment and the possible co-option of Reiner’s politics is part of the routine at the club.

In the second room Tilman Hornig’s rear painted window frames feel nostalgic and inward in this scenario, their materiality put under scrutiny by that of the attic space. In the adjacent eaves the room is part sectioned-off by a wire mesh, a white rectangle of fabric creates a quick-fix wall divide, and inside this is a salon of small paintings by Real Positive. Unknown schematics, wires gridding the surface of a canvas. In another work I make out wind turbines, or stars collaged from pills and silver foil, a gritty future.

Comedy Club (2016). Exhibition view. Courtesy Jens Einhorn, Anne Fellner + Burkhard Beschow.
Comedy Club (2016). Exhibition view. Courtesy Jens Einhorn, Anne Fellner + Burkhard Beschow.

Against a landscape painting by exhibition organiser Fellner, two crude cars made from tin food cans travel in static motion alongside an improvised wall. They’re part children’s toys, part anachronistic prototype, forgotten and resigned to the loft. The metal, cut and torn into vehicles, feels like a dark critique of our modern aspirations and tragedies. A video with clips from Disney-Pixar’s computer-animated comedy adventure film Cars and a text describing the tin can’s journey make up parts of this installation by Fellner & Beschow. Like with Saeed’s art brut punk, there is a contemplation of the future through the tendencies of how we interpret and fetishize the past and its production values, at times with fairytale simplicity.

Comedy Club is short and sweet but its jokes are long-winded and bitter. It feels timeless, in that it occupies a crusty building and shows emerging art. Timed with Berlin Gallery Weekend, the character of many of the works and the precarious rooms they inhabit turn in on the official market-driven programme with a critical gaze. Sub-cultural systems of practice as affect, historical assimilation, spun out. As one of the organisers jokes, it’s an ‘underground’ show but it’s above us in an attic.**

The Comedy Club group exhibition was on during Berlin Gallery Weekend, running April 29 to May 1, 2016.

Header image: Lin May Saeed @ Comedy Club (2016). Exhibition view. Courtesy Jens Einhorn, Anne Fellner + Burkhard Beschow.

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No Need to Hunt… @ S T O R E, Sep 26 – Oct 10

25 September 2015

Dresden’s S T O R E gallery is presenting No Need to Hunt – We Just Wait for the Roadkill group exhibition, opening September 26 and running to October 10.

Staying true to its title, the press event announcement comes accompanied by a poem (see below) that alludes to a kind of vulture —an animal that scavenges in an urban environment for meat fallen prey to traffic and become a “fresh delivery” for those who wait.

Organised by Paul Barsch, participating artists include Burkhard Beschow, Alexander Endrullat, Dorota Gaweda and Eglé Kulbokaité of Young Girl Reading Group, Camilla Steinum, Michele Gabriele, Kai Hügel and Jake Kent.

“sitting at the roadside. inert and puffed up. watching cars fly by.

—one by one. a constant flow of noise.

hours of contemplation. waiting. wide awake. aware and intent.

instead of flying high. we spare our vigors —for whatever.

we are not lazy. we are laid back.

then just glide over. to the warm body cracked open. spiced with hot rubber and nasty surprise.

—fresh delivery.

we are no scavengers. we are the new breed!”

See the S T O R E website for details.**

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JURASSIC PAINT (2015) exhibition photos

18 September 2015

If you wait for something long enough it’ll come back in style, and dinosaurs are coming back with a vengeance of all things though extinct. Jurassic Paint, the second online show by New Scenario, went live on their website in early June. The group exhibition, shot in the forest of Saurierpark Kleinwelka, a dinosaur park filled with life-size dinosaur models, combines “two prehistoric yet resilient species” for a collection of canvas works from eleven visual artists. 

New Scenario, founded by artists Paul Barsch and Tilman Hornig in late 2014, is a dynamic platform for conceptual, time-based and performative exhibition formats “that happen outside the real of the white cube”. With Jurassic Paint, Barsch and Hornig invite the participants to combine painting as a “creative act of the imagination” with the construction of the dinosaurs, whose likeness “emerges from fanciful and narrative processes of the human and scientific mind”. The canvas works and the dinosaurs share, as the exhibition’s press release identifies, the same ‘Lebensraum’ or living space, creating a new scenario.

Iain Ball, '(res) terbium series 3' (2015) Install view.
Iain Ball, ‘(res) terbium series 3’ (2015) Install view.

The eleven visual artists have all been asked to create a dinosaur likeness, with Zoe Barcza creating a Plateosaurus titled ‘Shred IV’, Ann Hirsch offering an Anatosaurus titled ‘My Starving Public 1998’, and Tom Davis creating a Campsognathus titled ‘Ovid-Acteaon’. The remaining artists include Scott Gelber with a Diplodocus hallorum titled ‘RothkoNetflix1’, Sayre Gomez with a Antrodemus titled ‘Thief Painting in Violet’, Martin Mannig with a Heterodontosaurus tucki titled ‘Psycho’ and Jaakko Pallasvuo with a Ornitholestes hermanni titled ‘Amusement Park’. There’s also Anselm Ruderisch‘s  Polacanthus titled ‘Voyager1’, Joshua Abelow with a Triceratops prorsus titled ‘Untitled (Witch)’, and Iain Ball with a Triceratops horridus titled ‘(res) terbium series 3’. Hornig and Barsch also contributed pieces to the exhibition with, respectively, a Ceratosaurus nasicornis titled ‘Stop Aids redux’ and a Tyrannosaurus rex titled ‘O. K.’s Time Travels (Back to the Future)’, accompanied by written contributions from Johannes Thumfart and Hendrik Niefeld. **

Exhibition photos, top right.

Jurassic Paint group exhibition went live at newscenario.net on June 11, 2015.

Header image: Zoe Barcza, ‘Shred IV’ (2014). Install view. Courtesy the artist.

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Windowlicker @ Center Berlin, Apr 29 – May 3

28 April 2015

Center is bringing in another big group show for this weekend’s Gallery Weekend with Windowlicker, running at the Berlin space from April 29 to May 3.

The group exhibition, organized by Clemence De La Tour Du Pin, Antoine Renard and Anna Frost, features the works of 20 different artists. Among them are Du Pin and Renard, as well as Serbian-born artist Ivana Basic (whose interview we will be publishing tomorrow), Ilja Karilampi, Paul Barsch and Sandra Vaka Olsen.

The show’s press release comes in the form of an all-caps rambling description of an unknown narrator’s first trip on Jimson weed seeds that begins at a party and ends in a mental coffin somewhere on his/her friend’s couch the next day.

See the FB exhibition page for details. **

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C R A S H (2015) @ New Scenario exhibition photos

6 February 2015

Installed in a Hummer limo but exhibited on the internet, the C R A S H group exhibition is the image of rupture. Or make that several images, as the show – curated by artists and New Scenario founders Paul Barsch and Tilman Hornig, along with Burkhard Beschow – presents a body horror of cybernetic objects and synthetic organisms sharing a place in fragments at a point of temporal rift.

Launched on January 17 and featuring the work of 11 artists, each image comes from the one luxury car interior but its object is viewed only in isolation at any given time. The empty space becomes animated as you select an artist’s name, like a point-and-click adventure game of grotesque hidden artefacts, from Hornig’s nylon-limbs stretched out across a leather couch to Barsch’s disembodied hairpiece, dreadlocked and dangling from the sunroof.

Tilman Hornig @ C R A S H (2015). Install view. Photo by Stefan Haehnel. Courtesy New Scenario.
Tilman Hornig @ C R A S H (2015). Install view. Photo by Stefan Haehnel. Courtesy New Scenario.

Inspired by David Cronenberg’s Cosmopolis and Chris Cunningham’s ‘Windowlicker‘ video for Aphex Twin there’s something chilling about Adam Cruces‘ baguette arm that wears three watches in the speaker compartment and Thomas Payne’s plastic pack of oversized synthetic slaters. It’s place in the driver’s cupholder implying it’s there to be eaten.

This is a backdrop of obscene wealth and mediated overstimulation, where the Hummer limousine comes already loaded with a contextual meaning that a white cube – whether online or off – consciously, but possibly even more artificially attempts to avoid. Thus these actors and their stage in the total cinematic experience of C R A S H, where the drama of  Zack Davis‘ motionless glass barnacle stuck to the screen of a simulated fireplace plays out in a different dimension of the same space as Anne Fellner‘s painting of a white swan lying limply on its side.

Adam Cruces @ C R A S H (2015). Photo by Stefan Haehnel. Courtesy New Scenario.
Adam Cruces @ C R A S H (2015). Install view. Photo by Stefan Haehnel. Courtesy New Scenario.

An accompanying text by Joseph Hernandez called ‘Observations From the Bucket‘ presents a first-person account of a “coming change” ignored by the family but offering ideas and concepts that are “constant and shattered and reveled within”. The anatomical imagery that mostly travels through the protagonist’s digestive tract is slightly less confronting than d3signbur3au‘s troublingly feminised personification of a capitalism that’s eating itself in ‘for a future IV: but what if we are not alive?‘:

“Blue shit burning in her ass like melting solder… the smell of blue fever fills the air, a rotten metal meat smell that steams off her as she shits a soldering blue phosphorescent excrement”.

A bulbous pink blob, ice cubes expanding into polygonal shapes, a napkin spattered with what looks like blood and a toilet brush encrusted with grime and cigarette butts. All of these individual pieces add up to a production that evokes that same sensuous feeling of ‘venereal horror’ that made Cronenberg famous, J. G. Ballard an icon and our collective view to the future one that’s equal parts frightening and fascinating. **

Exhibition photos, top right.

New Scenario is a dynamic platform for conceptual, time based and performative exhibition formats. The C R A S H group exhibition launched online on January 17, 2015.

Header image: C R A S H (2015). Exhibition view. Photo by Stefan Haehnel. Courtesy newscenario.net.

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